Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Keeping score

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 11.34.42 PMEarlier today I headed over to the A’s-Angels game with my father in law and my son, Emmett.

None of us are fans of the Angels or A’s, and my father in law isn’t really into baseball. We went because it seemed like a cool thing to do, and good tickets were available on the cheap at Stubhub.

Anyhow, while walking through the concourse I stopped at a concession stand and picked up a scorecard and a pencil. Now, back when I was a kid, a scorecard at Shea Stadium was either 25 or 50 cents, and the pencil came along for free. Here, in Anaheim, the scorecard was $3 (admittedly, it came inside a pretty thick magazine), and I had to fork over another buck for the pencil. Upon sitting down, I explained to Emmett that there’s this thing called keeping score, and that it’s sort of a lost art. We looked up the lineups, filled them in, and I gave the boy a quick lesson on circling 9s and 4-3s and BB and K and SB.

To my great surprise, he ate it up. With the exception of the half inning where we walked to get food, Emmett scored the entire game—well. Whereas he normally would have wanted to scoot up and down the hallways, now he was glued to his seat and determined to do his job properly. When someone grounded out to shortstop, I’d say, “OK, Emmett, what’s that?” He’d take a second, look at me, say, “4-3.”

“Now think about it,” I’d reply.

A pause.

“Oh, 6-3. Right, Dad?”

Big smile.

Because I was raised by sports illiterates (it’s still up in the air whether my mom knows what team Walter Payton played for), I’m not sure who taught me to keep score. But it’s something that brings me true joy, and today I found an even truer joy.

Passing it down to my son.